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Posted by: John Brace | 8th December 2014

A tale of 2 invoices paid by Wirral Council: Mystery Employee (£2,496.53) & Martin Clayton's wasted costs (£1,728)

A tale of 2 invoices paid by Wirral Council: Mystery Employee (£2,496.53) & Martin Clayton’s wasted costs (£1,728)

                                            

Ed 22:02 8/12/2014 Although it was initially confirmed one invoice related to Mr. Martin Morton, it appears this was incorrext and this article has been amended.

Below are two invoices paid by Wirral Council’s legal department in the last financial year (2013-14) unearthed as part of my “armchair audit”. A lot was blacked out on both invoices, my annotations are in green.

The first is an invoice dated 8th January 2014 from Ralli Solicitors for £2,496.53. This is for (in part) attendance at mediation meeting on Monday 16th December 2013 involving a mystery employee? to try and reach some type of settlement. Those with long memories will remember there was also a meeting of Council on the evening of 16th December 2013. Had a settlement been reached on 16th December 2013, I wonder if it was connected to what was on the agenda for that meeting.

When this invoice was given to me as part of the audit, Wirral Council blacked out the name.

Some of this bill is for £15.00 (+VAT) for car parking and £15.44 (+VAT) for car mileage. The location of the meeting is also blacked out by Wirral Council so it’s impossible to tell how reasonable the £36.53 for travel expenses tacked on to the bill is.

Ralli Solicitors invoice to Wirral Council 8th January 2014 £2456 53p

Ralli Solicitors invoice to Wirral Council 8th January 2014 £2456 53p

Ralli Solicitors invoice to Wirral Council 8th January 2014 £2456 53p

The second legal invoice I will show you dear reader (moving away from the Department for Adult Social Services to the Department for Children and Young People) is for Wirral Council having to pay another party’s legal expenses after a wasted costs hearing on the 16th October 2013. The invoice is below.

Bear in mind for a court to award a wasted costs order under the court’s rules the court must have deemed that the following happened (legal representative refers to Wirral Council’s legal representative who is again blacked out on the invoice):

“5.5 It is appropriate for the court to make a wasted costs order against a legal representative, only if –
(a) the legal representative has acted improperly, unreasonably or negligently;
(b) the legal representative’s conduct has caused a party to incur unnecessary costs, or has meant that costs incurred by a party prior to the improper, unreasonable or negligent act or omission have been wasted;
(c) it is just in all the circumstances to order the legal representative to compensate that party for the whole or part of those costs.”

I would guess that Hillyer McKeown Solicitors were acting for one (or both) of the parents and Wirral Council is representing one (or more) children.

Wirral Council invoice 24th January 2014 £1728 wasted costs hearing HillyerMcKeown Solicitors Children and Young People Martin Clayton added

Wirral Council invoice 24th January 2014 £1728 wasted costs hearing Hillyer McKeown Solicitors Children and Young People Martin Clayton added

Wirral Council invoice 24th January 2014 £1728 wasted costs hearing Hillyer McKeown Solicitors CYP Martin Clayton added

Wirral Council invoice 24th January 2014 £1728 wasted costs hearing HillyerMcKeown Solicitors Children and Young People

Wirral Council invoice 24th January 2014 £1728 wasted costs hearing Hillyer McKeown Solicitors CYP

Wirral Council invoice 24th January 2014 £1728 wasted costs hearing Hillyer McKeown Solicitors CYP

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Responses

  1. The First Cost (Invoice) would be Legitimate in any proposed Civil Case or Settlement thereof. The Second Invoice would be starting to make me stand up and take Notice, especially if I were head of an Organisation or Department. let me explain, if a Case goes against a Defendant or Respoindent, cost’s can be Awarded, as already explained in a previous blog by Mr Brace. In all fairness,
    I do not know who the Person mentioned is, however there does appear from the Invoice to be a Lack of Attention to Detail and this is not the first time this has happened.

    • Yes and I can understand why Wirral Council wouldn’t want to be advising both sides in an employment dispute.

      You are right if a case is lost (or even if it is won) costs can be awarded by the court. However a wasted costs hearing, means one side is asking the court to sanction the other side paying their costs because something has happened that shouldn’t have happened.

      I don’t know who the person mentioned in the second invoice is as Wirral Council have (quite legitimately) obscured the solicitor’s name dealing with it at Wirral Council. Like you I doubt this is the first (or last) time this has happened to Wirral Council.


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